This is, on the face of it, comedy at its most simplistic: a man on stage delivering an hour’s worth of puns.
That equates to an awful lot of jokes, if not a lot of variation. But Milton Jones is a master of his genre and while he can’t entirely break from the limitations of his style, the tricksy wit of the writing always shines through.
He has perfected the persona with which to deliver these offbeat one-liners. The oddball with the manic hair, gaudy Hawaiian shirt and thousand-yard stare is, just possibly, dumb enough to have made the linguistic misunderstandings that form the basis of most of the lines.
Yet there’s also an acknowledgment that these are just stupid jokes he’ll acknowledge the groans this sort of punditry inevitable elicits sometimes with the assertion: ‘You’ll be telling it tomorrow.’
He might be right, as his are the style of gags that can be spread, although the sheer volume here will mean most will be forgotten. Rewatchability – if there is such a word – can be a problem for some stand-up DVDs, but this is likely to bear up to repeat viewings as his material fades from memory. It even has a U certificate – previously unheard-of for what’s ostensibly an adult stand-up show, but this is definitely family viewing without being bland.
Jones makes some minor concessions to try to break up the flow. There’s a bit of audience banter, a section involving an overhead projection that allows him to indulge in visual gags as silly as his wordplay, and a segment delivered in the guise of his many grandfathers. But character comedy it isn’t... it’s exactly the same mode of jokes, just told with a doddery voice.
Jones is charmingly playful with the delivery, but the proof is in the gags. Without repeating them here, they range from the sublime to the dreadful. Though the latter category might just be there to prove how difficult it is to avoid slipping into ‘dad joke’ territory with this style of comedy. It’s a pitfall Jones usually sidesteps.
- Milton Jones: Lion Whisperer Live was released on Monday by Spirit Entertainment. Click here to buy from Amazon at £12.99